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Mortar Matching for Brick Repair



Brick Repair/Masonry Repair Services

Repairing Brick Mortar Cracks

Masonry repair, brick repair, tuckpointing, crack repair, or re-pointing all refer to the process of fixing damaged or deteriorated mortar joints and cracked or crumbling bricks. Depending on the masonry structure, there may be different requirements or preparations needed to complete the repairs, but the general process of brick mortar restoration is the same. The procedure of how to repair mortar cracks and deterioration is as follows:  Planning, pre-repair preparation, preparing masonry for repointing, installation, and cleanup.

Masonry Repair -Planning
In the planning stage of masonry repair, you need to determine what type of repair is needed. You will need to identify the cause of damage and find an appropriate action of repair. For example, if the cracking is a result of foundation settling, you may need to fix the foundation before repairing the mortar cracks, or if your sprinklers are deteriorating the mortar joints, adjusting the spray field to prevent future erosion of the mortar needs done.

Brick Repair Mortar

You will also need to identify the proper materials for the repair. People often want to leave this part to their contractor. Allowing the contractor this power can often result in problems because most brick repair contractors or handyman performing these repairs are un-aware of the mistakes they make when choosing the mortar. If you are allowing them to choose the mortar materials for the repair, you should at least be knowledgeable enough to know if they are doing it right. The easiest way to identify if the masonry repair contractor is getting the right mortar for repairing your house is what mortar mix they intend to use. If they are planning to use any of the pre-mixed bags of mortar from the local hardware store, they are not matching your mortar and are not repairing the cracks properly.

Masonry repair requires using a proper repair mortar that allows the mortar to bond, expand, contract, and crush at the same rate as the original mortar. The only way to match the old mortar and get a proper mortar for repair is through mortar analysis. This provides the exact mortar formula for matching your mortar type, crushing, bonding, expansion, contraction, water penetration, and other factors about your mortar that will ensure a lasting repair of the cracked mortar joints. It is recommended that you get mortar analysis and matching before contacting a brick repair company so that you are better informed before making your decision of who to hire.

Matching Brick Mortar for Repair and Repointing

Masonry Repair -Pre-Preparation
Collect a sample of mortar for matching. This is easiest where you have a loose brick, but can be removed at edges, corners, or cracks using a chisel or screwdriver. You will need about a half cup volume of mortar or a few small pieces 1/2 inch or larger. If you are getting mortar matching (mortar color matching) some surface mortar is needed. Label the samples and put them into a bag/container for shipping and send them to a mortar testing lab for analysis of composition and color matching. When you get the mortar formula back with the mortar testing report, you will know exactly what ingredients and in what ratio to mix a proper repair mortar and you or your contractor of choice can follow the formula for mixing mortar to match the existing mortar of your home.

With the mortar formula and the cause of damage determined and fixed, you are ready to hire a masonry repair company to begin the repairs or begin if you are repointing the brick mortar yourself.

Brick Repair -Preparation
Preparing the masonry for repair begins with getting your tools and materials. The common tools for fixing brick mortar cracks are a hammer and chisel or a grinder for the removal of damaged mortar, a bucket, wheelbarrow, or mixing tub to mix mortar, a trowel, hopper, pointers, grout bag for installing mortar into the mortar joints or re-lay of loose bricks, and jointers and brushes for packing, tooling, shaping, and cleaning the mortar joints to match the existing mortar. The common materials are replacement bricks, sand, mortar mix (Portland and lime), pigments. You can pick up these items at your local masonry supply, or order custom bags of pre-matched mortar from AMR Labs to make this process easy.

After you have your tools and materials available, begin removing the damaged mortar (about 3/4 inch deep or more) and the loose or damaged bricks. This process is often very dusty and loud. The mortar joints should be clean of all dust and debris before installing the brick repair mortar.

Installing Brick Pointing Mortar
Using your formula or pre-matched mortar mix proceed to mix the mortar for masonry repairs. Brick repair mortar should be easily pliable (about the consistency of peanut butter). Then using your pointer or grout bag install the new mortar until each mortar joint is full. Be sure to pack and tool the joints as you work.

Cleaning Brick
The last part of brick repair is clean up. Brush the excess mortar away from the brick faces and mortar joints and allow to dry. After the mortar dries, you can clean any mortar smears from the brick faces using detergents, brushes, a piece of carpet, and if needed, mild acid solution.

Brick Repair Products

AMR Labs offers a variety of masonry repair products to help you get a better brick repair easier and more accurate. We provide Mortar Analysis, Mortar Matching, Custom Matched Mortars, Brick Repair Training Videos and The Brick Repair Guide.


Masonry Repair DIY

Do-It-Yourself Brick Repair/Tuckpointing

DIY Brick Repair

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Brick Repair in Dallas/Fort Worth

Learn more about masonry repair mistakes in Dallas and Fort Worth

Brick Repair In Dallas Fort Worth

There are many common mistakes made in mortar repair. This is especially true of the Dallas and Fort Worth area. To learn more about the problems with masonry brick repair in Dallas/Fort Worth, click one of the following links. Brick Repair Dallas Brick Repair Fort Worth

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